Flavorful produce: Time to explore the colorful, bountiful rainbow


What’s your favorite flavorful produce? Instead of grabbing the typical apple, banana or carrot, it is time to explore all types of colorful bounty.

Flavorful produce is everywhere. While the local farmers market or produce aisle offers a bevy of deliciousness, people are looking to explore beyond those tried and true favorites. With more and more people understanding the importance of eating the rainbow, exotic fruits are becoming the norm, not the unusual.

At the recent PMA Fresh Summit, tons of colorful, delicious and exotic fruits and vegetables were on display. From the more common to the unfamiliar, this food can inspire everyone to explore taste, texture and deliciousness. But, will you be seeing these items on store shelves soon?

Melissa’s Produce is a force in the produce industry. This brand tends to introduce consumers to fresh ideas in produce. Anyone who has been to an Epcot food festival recently has probably seen the name Melissa’s Produce on several popular dishes.

Melissa’s Produce, exotic fruits, photo by Cristine Struble

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Beyond those food festival dishes, this company helps the regular consumer see those delicious exotic fruits not as secret ingredients on your favorite Food Network cooking competition, but rather an ingredient that anyone can use. Just think about some fruits. 10 years ago the pomegranate, and its delicious seeds, didn’t find its way into your salad or smoothie. Now, that fruit is everywhere.

While Melissa’s Produce enticed visitors with its freaky fruits display, that bounty was more than a colorful exhibition. It was an introduction to exploring taste and flavor. But, will the common consumer be willing to take that journey?

Two items often drive consumers to try new foods. Recently, food TV and celebrity chefs are a huge factor. Consumers want to emulate those recipes from their favorite food TV show. Also, people want to recreate a favorite dish or meal from a special meal. In both of those scenarios, some of the ingredients might not be the same as grandma’s old-school recipe.

Second, the increased availability of various types of produce increases consumers’ willingness to try it. Sure that piece of dragon fruit might look unusual, but the flavor is captivating. Now, the introduction of yellow dragon fruit, a sweeter version, expands the culinary creativity even more.

While appearance or the unknown might push some consumers away, people wanting to explore flavor and food will be drawn to the new. Just trying a food doesn’t mean that it has to become your favorite food ever or that you have to cook with it every day. Experimenting with food can help consumers understand what they like, how to cook better and to not be afraid to push beyond their comfort zone.

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Will the bevy of these exotic, colorful and flavorful produce be popping up on your local grocery store shelves? The answer is hopefully. Just like the international foods aisle has expanded over the year, the fruits and vegetables section will surely be filled with some new and exciting choices.